Handbook on the Politics of Small States
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Handbook on the Politics of Small States

Edited by Godfrey Baldacchino and Anders Wivel

Comprehensive and timely, this Handbook identifies the key characteristics, challenges and opportunities involved in the politics of small states across the globe today. Acknowledging the historical legacies behind these states, the chapters unpack the costs and benefits of different political models for small states.
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Chapter 21: Small states in the Pacific

Jack Corbett and John Connell

Abstract

Questions about ‘modernity’, including assessment of its penetration and reach, dominate scholarly and policy discourse on the Pacific. The relatively late and thin veneer of colonialism is one reason for this. The apparent absence of modernist development is another. What is holding the region back and how might this be remedied? This chapter reviews different answers to this key question. Smallness has been central to each iteration of this discussion. A series of paradoxes loom: the Pacific is too modern and not modern enough; underdeveloped and paradise lost; an ‘ocean of democracy’ and an ‘arc of instability’; a progressive champion of climate change and a conservative bastion of patriarchy. Each characteristic intersects with ‘modernity’ at different points and implies different understandings of size and scale.

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